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A meta-analysis of 175 studies of stalking is reported in which descriptive estimates of prevalence, sex differences, relationship origins, motives, threat and violence are provided. The moderating effects of type of sample are examined. Overall, an average of 25% of samples across 58 studies report stalking victimization, with each episode lasting an average of 22 months (N = 28). Females are more likely to be victims (M = 28.5, SD = 26, N = 44) than males (M = 11, SD = 8, N = 21), and between 60 and 80% of victims are females, although these differences reflect clinical and forensic samples more than collegiate or general population samples. Across 54 studies, 54% of stalking cases revealed some use of threat, which again was far more likely to occur in clinical and forensic samples. Across 82 studies in which some estimate of violence was provided, 32% of stalking cases involved physical violence, whereas 12% involved sexual violence (N = 36). Stalking clearly tends to emerge most commonly from pre-existing relationships; 79% of victims were acquainted with their pursuer (N = 62), and half of all stalking emerged specifically from romantic relationships (M = 49%, N = 53). Typological issues are examined in regard to types of stalkers, types of stalker motivation, types of stalking behavior, and types of victim symptomatology. Given the rich descriptive base of information about stalking, it is recommended that priority should shift to more theoretical issues surrounding stalking. These issues along with other future implications are examined.
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The state of the art of stalking: Taking stock
of the emerging literature
Brian H. Spitzberg
, William R. Cupach
School of Communication, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-4561, United States
School of Communication, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4480, United States
Received 3 May 2006; received in revised form 15 May 2006; accepted 15 May 2006
Available online 7 July 2006
A meta-analysis of 175 studies of stalking is reported in which descriptive estimates of prevalence, sex differences, relationship
origins, motives, threat and violence are provided. The moderating effects of type of sample are examined. Overall, an average of
25% of samples across 58 studies report stalking victimization, with each episode lasting an average of 22 months (N= 28).
Females are more likely to be victims (M= 28.5, SD= 26, N= 44) than males (M= 11, SD = 8, N= 21), and between 60 and 80% of
victims are females, although these differences reflect clinical and forensic samples more than collegiate or general population
samples. Across 54 studies, 54% of stalking cases revealed some use of threat, which again was far more likely to occur in clinical
and forensic samples. Across 82 studies in which some estimate of violence was provided, 32% of stalking cases involved physical
violence, whereas 12% involved sexual violence (N= 36). Stalking clearly tends to emerge most commonly from pre-existing
relationships; 79% of victims were acquainted with their pursuer (N= 62), and half of all stalking emerged specifically from
romantic relationships (M= 49%, N= 53). Typological issues are examined in regard to types of stalkers, types of stalker
motivation, types of stalking behavior, and types of victim symptomatology. Given the rich descriptive base of information about
stalking, it is recommended that priority should shift to more theoretical issues surrounding stalking. These issues along with other
future implications are examined.
© 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Nature and scope .................................................... 66
2. Prevalence........................................................ 70
3. Mapping the behavioral contents of stalking ...................................... 70
4. Mapping the contents of victim and intervention behavior ............................... 72
5. Mapping the effects of stalking ............................................. 73
6. Explaining stalking and obsessive relational intrusion ................................. 74
Aggression and Violent Behavior 12 (2007) 64 86
Invited manuscript submitted to Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal, Michel Hersen, ABPP, Editor, School of Professional
Psychology, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR 97116,; Carole L. Londerée, Editorial Assistant:
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 619 594 7097.
E-mail addresses: (B.H. Spitzberg), (W.R. Cupach).
Tel.: +1 309 438 7110.
1359-1789/$ - see front matter © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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6.1. Attachment theory................................................ 77
6.2. Relational goal pursuit theory .......................................... 78
7. Courtship and the construction of stalking ....................................... 79
References .......................................................... 79
Note: References marked with an asterisk are those included in the meta-analysis . .................... 81
Over a decade-and-a-half has elapsed since the act of stalking was explicitly criminalized. In 1990 California passed
the first law making stalking illegal. This legislative action was based in part on (a) highly publicized cases of celebrity
stalking and murder, (b) cases of ex-partner stalking and violence in the face of existing restraining orders, (c)
archetypal and repeated media depictions of stalkers and their threat, and (d) the recognition by law enforcement and
the legal establishment that there was a void of legislation covering the unique patterns of behavior referred to as
stalking. Within a decade of passing the California law, all U.S. states, the Federal Government, and numerous other
countries around the world passed similar legislation.
Social scientific research often is at the vanguard of setting social policy. In other instances, it follows. In the case of
stalking, social science followed. Relevant forms of behavior, such as threats and harassment, had been studied, but
even those forms of research probably followed societal recognition of the need for their prohibition or regulation.
Despite the delays involved in studying stalking under the scientific microscope, once investigations began, progress
was substantial and rapid. This essay seeks to take stock of the emerging research that now represents the state of the art
of social scientific knowledge of stalking, and its close cousin, obsessive relational intrusion and the unwanted pursuit
of intimacy.
Some of this review will be assisted by an ongoing descriptive data base of summary statistics from existing studies
of stalking maintained by the authors. References to analyses of this data base will be referred to as the meta-analytic
sample. This data base is available upon request, and we invite others to use it, expand it, and refine it. Reference to the
data that occurs across this data base helps avoid various problems associated with reviewing literature on stalking.
First, authors are inclined to focus disproportionately on research from their own point of view (or authorship, a bias
from which we claim no innocence). Second, rather than being constrained by space to reviewing an exemplary study
here, and a study there, summary analysis across studies permits a more representative coverage of information. Third,
summary across studies helps avoid occasional significant biases due to particular operational distinctions, such as type
of stalking definition used or type of sample. Likewise, fourth, when these types of operational distinctions are
available for coding, they can permit moderator analyses to decompose their effects. Finally, by summarizing across
studies, more comprehensive typologies can be establishedthe holes in one study's list of tactics is filled in by
another study, thereby permitting the construction of more exhaustive and coherent typological schemes (see Cupach &
Spitzberg, 2004; Spitzberg, 2002).
This analytic approach is not without its limitations, however. There are likely to be minor sources of error when
interpretations and interpolations had to be made regarding percentages based on numbers provided by published
reports, and in the occasional study that probably should not be counted in a given category. For example, a study of
victims from a stalking victimsgroup may conclude that only 70% of the participants are actual victims, but given the
nature of the sample, it would be inappropriate to count this in the same category as the percentage of those stalked
variable. Alternatively, studies of stalking among erotomanics (i.e., people who delusionally believe someone is in love
with them) or domestic violence victims, represent populations in which stalking is likely to be highly over-represented
vis-à-vis the general population, yet, still deserve examination in terms of prevalence. Finally, there are times when a
particularly well-designed study or sample deserves emphasis because it overcomes many of the difficulties of other
studies. The findings of these studies can be statistically swamped by the noiseof all the other studies in the sampling
frame. Despite these minor caveats, however, as the sample expands, the influences of such interpretive decisions are
likely to become less and less problematic.
As of this writing, the meta-analytic sampling frame consists of 175 unique samples of respondents or cases,
representing 122,207 individuals. The vast majority of the studies is published and only 6% employed probability-
based sampling strategies. The profile of studies reveals that 70% of research has been conducted in the U.S., 8% in
England, Scotland, Ireland, or Northern Ireland, 8% in Australia, 5% in Canada, 2% in European countries, with the
remaining 7% either of mixed nationality or other(all percentages here and throughout are rounded to the nearest
65B.H. Spitzberg, W.R. Cupach / Aggression and Violent Behavior 12 (2007) 6486
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whole number). The types of samples reflect a varied domain, including clinical (13%), forensic/law enforcement
(24%), general population (9%), college (30%), adolescents (1%), victims (7%), domestic violence (9%), homicide or
attempted homicide (1%), organizational (5%), and other(2%). When these are collapsed, 48% are clinical or
forensic, 21% general population, and 30% college samples. The data base represents summary statistics of such
variables as the percentage of the sample stalked, the percentages and proportions of those victims or perpetrators who
are male or female, acquainted or unacquainted, and use of threats, sexual aggression, or physical violence.
1. Nature and scope
Stalking can be defined in at least two significantly distinct ways: legally and perceptually. Legal definitions, as
codified in statutes, have taken several different forms, but typically identify stalking as an (a) intentional (b) pattern of
repeated behaviors toward a person or persons (b) that are unwanted, and (c) result in fear, or that a reasonable person
(or jury) would view as fearful or threatening. Stalking is therefore not a single act or behavior, but a pattern of behavior
over time, requiring a minimum of two acts, but typically consisting of what may be a campaignof behavior over an
extended period of time. Typically, this pattern of behavior must be judged intentional on the part of the stalker, but in
the case of mentally disturbed or delusional individuals or cases of neighborhood proximity of patterns of interaction,
intentionality may not be obvious. The unwanted nature of stalking is relatively taken for granted, but often this
criterion is significant legally in cases in which the object of pursuit, or victim, engages in behavior that may seem to
invite the stalker into further opportunities for contact. Finally, the requirement of fear or threat is often the most legally
problematic criterion, and in some jurisdictions, this standard has been modified to reflect significant disruption or
aggravation. As suggested by these criteria, stalking does bear a family resemblance to topics more traditionally
recognized in law, such as threat and harassment. However, by combining these features with recognition of the
repeated and cumulative impact of behaviors, stalking laws recognized that a series of isolated behaviors, viewed
separately, might not amount to threat or harassment, and therefore a law was needed to cover such instances.
The average person is not a lawyer, however, and research has begun to examine how lay people define stalking.
Some studies have explicitly examined the difference between legalistic definitions (i.e., definitions that reflect the
criteria discussed above) and the self-attribution of label of stalkingto victimization (e.g., Tjaden, Thoennes, &
Allison, 2000). Other studies have provided experimentally varied scenarios to examine the role that issues such as type
of relationship to pursuer or length of time of pursuit had on respondents' attribution of the label stalking (e.g.,
Dennison & Thomson, 2002; Dunn, 1999; Dussuyer, 2000; Farrell, Weisburd, & Wyckoff, 2000; Hills & Taplin, 1998;
Kamphuis et al., 2005; Kinkade, Burns, & Fuentes, 2005; Pearce & Easteal, 1999; Phillips, Quirk, Rosenfeld, &
O'Connor, 2004; Sheridan & Davies, 2001; Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998; for review, see Dennison & Thomson, 2005).
One of the most troubling results of these studies is that the type of relationship victims have with their pursuer often
moderates their inclination to label the experience stalking, even though this has no legal relevance.
A closely related phenomenon to stalking, and one that is much more widespread, is the unwanted pursuit of
intimacy. Cupach and Spitzberg (1998, 2004) refer to this set of activities as obsessive relational intrusion, which can
be defined as the repeated and unwanted pursuit of intimacy through violation of physical and/or symbolic privacy.
Others have investigated similar patterns of unwanted pursuit of intimacy (e.g., Dye & Davis, 2003; Emerson, Ferris, &
Gardner, 1998; Langhinrichsen-Rohling & Taylor, 2003; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Palarea, Cohen, & Rohling, 2000;
Williams & Frieze, 2005).
The unwanted pursuit of intimacy clearly overlaps significantly with stalking, although it is distinct in at least two
significant ways. First, not all stalkers are pursuing intimacy or a relationship per se with the object of their pursuit.
Some stalkers are complete strangers to the victim, and some stalkers are seeking only to harm the victim. Second,
much unwanted relationship pursuit does not cross any reasonable threshold of fear or threat. Some unwanted pursuit of
intimacy is merely annoying, frustrating, aggravating, a nuisance, or otherwise undesirable, but not fear-inducing.
Research demonstrates, however, that relatively low levels of unwanted pursuit are often viewed as at least mildly
threatening (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2000), and research clearly demonstrates that the majority of stalking in society
emerges from previously acquainted relationships (see Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004; Spitzberg, 2002).
The motive structure of most stalking illustrates the overlap between stalking and ORI. Stalking is driven by a wide
and ambivalent variety of motives and triggers, many of which reveal relationship-based intentions. Research on the
motivations of stalkers indicates motives of love and reconciliation alongside revenge and intimidation (Cupach &
Spitzberg, 2004). In particular, Meloy (1999) speculates that when there has been prior sexual intimacy, the nature of
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Table 1
Summary of percentages of stalking attributed to specific motivations across studies (N=24 studies)
Motive category
I. Intimacy motives (M= 27.23, SD = 21.25, Range 166):
A. Abandonment/attachment loss issues:
Abandonment rage (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 44
Breakup (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 33
Distress over divorce (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 6
Ended relationship (Harris, 2000) 43
Failed relationship (Nicastro, Cousins, & Spitzberg, 2000)6
Feeling hurt by rejection (Dressing, Kuehner, & Gass, 2005)24
Grief (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 1
Inability to handle rejection/breakup (Dussuyer, 2000,)33
Initiated after the termination relationship (Galeazzi, Elkins, & Curci, 2005)13
Loneliness (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 37
Rage at rejection (Mullen & Pathé, 1994b) 14
Recent loss (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 9
Would not accept end of relationship (Hall, 1997)58
B. Dependency (M= 42.00, SD = 7.07, Range= 3747):
Dependency (Kienlen et al., 1997) 47
Dependency (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 37
C. Infatuation (M= 29.50, SD = 13.44, Range= 2039):
Infatuation (Wright et al., 1996) 20
Infatuation/fixation (Morrison, 2001) 39
D. Jealousy/envy (M= 21.71, SD = 14.68, Range= 257):
Check up/catch her in the act (e.g., affair) (Palarea, 2004)15
Envy (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 12
Jealous (Hall, 1997) 27
Jealousy (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 16
Jealousy (Kienlen et al., 1997) 24
Jealousy (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 33
Jealousy (Mullen & Pathé, 1994b) 14
Jealousy (Nicastro et al., 2000) 18
Jealousy (Roberts, 2005) 57
Jealousy, envy or distrust (Dressing et al., 2005)32
Jealousy/possessiveness/control (Dussuyer, 2000,)9
New boyfriend (Brewster, 1998, 2000)11
New partner of an ex-partner (Sheridan, Davies, & Boon, 2001b)2
Stop victim finding new romance (Coleman, 1999)34
E. Love (33.11, SD = 22.61, Range = 363):
Affectionate/amorous (Harmon, Rosner, & Owens, 1995)63
Concern (Burgess, Harner, Baker, Hartman, & Lole, 2001)6
Love (Bjerregaard, 2000) 60
Love (Burgess et al., 2001) 16
Love (Dressing et al., 2005) 35
Love (Harris, 2000) 3
Lovelikely delusional/Erotomanic(Sheridan et al., 2001b)24
Secretly loved (Coleman, 1999) 37
Show love (Palarea, 2004) 54
F. Obsession (M=55.33, SD = 8.02, Range = 4763):
Obsessed,56% (Hall, 1997) 56
Obsession, 47% (Kienlen et al., 1997) 47
Obsession; 63% (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 63
G. Reconciliation (M= 34.92, SD =21.66, Range = 775):
Apologize for something (Palarea, 2004) 66
Continue a relationship (Budd & Mattinson, 2000)12
Keep in relationship (Blackburn, 1999) 25
Keep in relationship (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)20
Not let go after end of relationship (Sheridan et al., 2001b)46
Reconciliation (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 75
(continued on next page)
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Table 1 (continued)
Motive category
Reconciliation (Burgess et al., 2001) 7
Reconciliation (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 18
Reconciliation (Nicastro et al., 2000) 40
Resumption of former relationship (Dressing et al., 2005)30
Stop from leaving the relationship (Blackburn, 1999)25
Win back former partner(Coleman, 1999) 55
H. Relationship development (M= 22.63, SD = 11.87, Range= 243):
Communication (Burgess et al., 2001) 19
Date (Blackburn, 1999) 27
Desire for more intimacy (Galeazzi et al., 2005)43
Desire to marry (Bjerregaard, 2000) 30
Develop relationship (Coleman, 1999) 15
Initiate intimate relationship (Hall, 1997) 23
Special occasion (Burgess et al., 2001) 2
Start a relationship (Budd & Mattinson, 2000) 22
I. Sexual (M= 25.57, SD = 12.26, Range =239):
Desire for sex (Bjerregaard, 2000) 29
Sexual attraction/infatuation (Dussuyer, 2000,) 32
Sexual contact (McCann, 2000) 39
Sexual intent (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 18
Sexual preoccupation (Meloy & Boyd, 2003)26
Sexual relations (Blackburn, 1999) 33
Sexual (Nicastro et al., 2000) 2
2. Aggression motives:
A. Anger/revenge (M= 31.89, SD = 18.11, Range= 265):
Anger (Nicastro et al., 2000) 16
Anger/hostility (Kienlen et al., 1997) 65
Anger/hostility (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 63
Anger/retaliation (Wright et al., 1996) 40
Angry (Melton, 2004) 24
Betrayal (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 33
Get even (Palarea, 2004) 12
Hostility/retaliation (Morrison, 2001) 41
Persecutory/angry (Harmon et al., 1995) 31
Projection of blame (Kienlen et al., 1997) 53
Racially motivated (Harris, 2000) 2
Retaliation (Hall, 1997) 32
Retaliation (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 24
Revenge (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 45
Revenge (Dressing et al., 2005) 27
Revenge or anger (McCann, 2000) 23
Road rage (Dussuyer, 2000,) 2
Seek revenge (Coleman, 1999) 41
B. Attack (M= 18.00, SD=15.56, Range 729):
Sexual attacks (Mullen & Pathé, 1994b) 29
Unification through death (Mullen & Pathé, 1994b)7
C. Control/possession (M= 23.00, SD = 6.96, Range= 1230):
Control issues (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 29
Control victim (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998) 21
Possession (Wright et al., 1996) 30
Possession/control (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 27
Power and control (Kienlen et al., 1997) 12
Power and control (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 19
D. Intimidation (M= 16.00, SD = 8.34, Range= 629):
Annoy or upset (Budd & Mattinson, 2000) 16
Intimidate or control (Palarea, 2004) 13
Intimidation (Blackburn, 1999) 29
Intimidation (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 6
Scare victim (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998) 16
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stalking violence is affective rather than predatory(p. 92). Cupach and Spitzberg (2004) grouped motives into
expressive (e.g., jealousy, anger, intimacy, etc.), instrumental (e.g., tangible disputes, control and power, revenge, etc.),
personalogical (e.g., drugs, dependency, mental disorder, incompetence, etc.), and contextual (e.g., breakup, nostalgia,
rival for affections, etc.). Studies of stalking that have attributed motives to the stalkers illustrate the ambivalence of
such pursuit.
A total of 24 studies was located that specified a percentage of stalking attributed to particular motives. These studies
represent a wide variety of samples and methods (see Tab le 1 ). Given a necessary caveat that such classifications entail a
high degree of interpretation at both the level of the original studies and in their reconfiguration, the results nevertheless
reveal the paradoxical ambivalence of stalking. When these motives are clustered at a higher order of abstraction, motives
associated with intimacy represent approximately a third (M=32.44, SD=10.70, Range= 21.71 to 55.33), aggressive
motives represent approximately a fifth to a fourth (M=22.22, SD=7.09, Range=16.00 to 31.89), disabilities represent a
little over a tenth (M= 12.25, SD=6.01, Range=8.00 to 16.50) and specific task or issue-based motives reflect over another
tenth (M= 13.18, SD= 12.57, Range= 2 to 39). These findings correspond with the analysis of a sample of over 1000
stalkers by Mohandie, Meloy, McGowan, and Williams (2006), in which 40% of the communication content coded
expressed love or desire for a relationship, 37% expressed some form of insult, 8% simply sought some form of
communication, and 2% offered help. Collectively, these studies and percentages also indicate that the typical stalking case
involves multiple motives, which often do not seem consistent with one another. Nevertheless, given that stalking is often
motivated by relationship development objectives, it clearly overlaps substantially with obsessive relational intrusion. Thus,
a substantial proportion of stalking begins as ORI, and much ORI crosses some threshold after which it is also perceived as
threatening, thereby qualifying as a form of stalking. The true extent of overlap of these processes is as yet unknown.
Table 1 (continued)
Motive category
3. Disability-based motives:
A. Drugs (M= 16.50, SD = 14.85, Range= 627):
Drug/alcohol abuse (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 27
Drugs/alcohol (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 6
B. Mental illness/disability (M= 8.00, SD = 4.18, Range= 212):
Mental illness (Brewster, 1998, 2000) 2
Mental imbalance (Dussuyer, 2000,) 12
Mentally disordered (Harris, 2000) 7
Mentally ill, abusing drugs/alcohol (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)7
Social incompetence (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 12
4. Task conflict or issues (M=13.18, SD = 12.57, Range = 239):
Business dispute, 3% (Harris, 2000) 3
Disputes over property/money, 14% (Harris, 2000)14
Distress over custody, 2% (Meloy & Boyd, 2003)2
Escalation of conflict with a neighbor, 7% (Sheridan et al., 2001b)7
Gain access to your children, 23% (Palarea, 2004)23
Gain access to your property, 23% (Palarea, 2004)23
Issues regarding children, 2% (Harris, 2000) 2
Neighborhood disputes, 3% (Dussuyer, 2000,) 3
Personal dispute, 25% (Harris, 2000) 25
Returning a call, 4% (Burgess et al., 2001) 4
Share information with her, 39% (Palarea, 2004)39
5. Miscellaneous:
Humiliation and shame (Meloy & Boyd, 2003) 17
Wanted or liked the attention (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)5
6. Unclassifiable:
No apparent reason (Harris, 2000) 2
No reason (Sheridan et al., 2001b) 15
Unsure of stalker motive (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998)12
1. Some interpretation was applied in the combination or abbreviation of categories.
2. Percentages were rounded. When percentages were reported in two groups (e.g., male, female) in ways that could not be reconciled through
estimation of original numbers, the two estimates were averaged.
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2. Prevalence
Given evidence that people apply somewhat variable standards in attributing the label stalking, it is no surprise that
there can be no firm estimates of the prevalence or incidence of stalking throughout society. Several large-scale
representative studies have been performed (Budd & Mattinson, 2000; Elliott & Brantley, 1997; Fisher, Cullen, &
Turner, 2000; Hackett, 2000; Kohn, Flood, Chase, & McMahon, 2000; Kong, 1996; McLennan, 1995/96, 1996;
Purcell, Pathé, & Mullen, 2002; Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998; for summary, see Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004, Table 3.2).
Most of these studies have attempted to use definitions that translated legal criteria into everyday language, and of those
that used carefully designed items, lifetime prevalence estimates range from 2% to 13% for males to 8% to 32% for
females. When prevalence and incidence estimates are averaged across the 175 samples, 25% of those sampled have
experienced stalking (N= 58, SD = 25). As the large standard deviation suggests, there are likely to be systematic
differences. When prevalence is examined by type of sample, clinical/forensic samples (M= 36.5, SD = 37, N= 18),
general population (M= 18, SD = 18, N= 20), and college (M= 21, SD = 12, N= 20) differed at a marginal level of
significance (F= 3.09, df = 2,55, p= .054, η
= .10).
Not all studies provide a summary statistic of duration. Across those studies that either provided a mean or median
estimate that could be calculated, the average case of stalking is 22 months, or close to two years (SD = 20, Range 485,
N= 28). This reinforces the ongoing patterned nature of stalking, and may well contribute to its potential for resulting in
a different type of trauma than single-event types of stress.
Across studies, females are more likely to experience stalking victimization (M= 28.5, SD = 26, N= 44) than males
(M= 11, SD = 8, N= 21). When contrasted by type of sample, female victimization prevalence revealed marginally
significant differences: clinical/forensic (M= 46.22, SD = 41.09, N= 9), general population (M= 26.14 D = 23.56,
N= 18), and college (M= 21.93, SD = 11.47, N= 16; F= 2.90, df = 2,40, p= .066, η
= .13). When the proportion of
female-to-male victimization is calculated separately in each study with available data, there are significant differences
by sample: M
= 80, SD = 15, N= 36; M
= 63, SD = 29, N=11; M
= 69, SD = 18, N=8; F= 3.95;
df = 2,52; p< .025, η
= .13. The data indicate that clinical and forensic types of samples may over-represent female
victims, which has a variety of potential implications for research, therapy, and policy. Nevertheless, across studies,
females are clearly more likely than males to experience stalking victimization.
Across studies, the substantial majority of stalking emerges from relationships in which the pursuer and pursued
shared some level of acquaintanceship (M= 79, SD = 16, N= 62), with the rema ining made up of strangers. To the
extent that these relationships could be differentiated across studies, the largest category of previous relationship was
romantic involvement (M= 49, SD = 24, N= 53), followed by service-related (e.g., teacher, counsellor, bank teller, etc.;
M= 29, SD = 31, N= 13), acquaintance (M= 23, SD = 12, N= 38), intimate non-romantic (e.g., friend, family, etc.;
M= 15, SD = 17, N= 24), and colleagues (M= 12, SD = 8, N= 24). Approximately half of all stalking emerges from
romantic entanglements, especially and perhaps not surprisingly among college samples (M
= 45, M
= 48,
= 61). Importantly, however, across all studies, fully 80% of stalkers were known to the person they pursued.
This has several implications. First, to some extent or another, these stalkers are people who fly in underneath the
relational radarof others long enough to form some type of attachment or acquaintanceship before things become
overtly unwanted. This evidences the importance of studying obsessive relational intrusion as a potentially common
precursor to stalking. Second, stalking is not prototypically as the media often depict it, the product of a deranged or
psychopathic stranger (Spitzberg & Cadiz, 2002). Third, the pragmatics of impression management may often mitigate
people's attempts to extricate themselves from these relationships early and forcefully enough to divert the attentions of
the unwanted pursuer (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004; Spitzberg & Cupach, 2001a, 2002).
3. Mapping the behavioral contents of stalking
One of the insidious implications of stalking emerging from pre-existing relationships is that some of the behaviors
stalkers engage in are relatively indistinguishable from everyday relational or courtship activities. A significant number
of studies in the early stages of studying stalking have provided descriptive profiles of the extent to which a variety of
behaviors were experienced by victims. Of the literally thousands of distinct labels operationalized across studies,
Cupach and Spitzberg (2004; see also Spitzberg, 2002) identified eight clusters of distinguishable stalking behaviors:
hyper-intimacy, mediated contacts, interactional contacts, surveillance, invasion, harassment and intimidation, coer-
cion and threat, and aggression.
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Hyper-intimacy behaviors tend to reflect typical courtship activities, but taken to an excessive level. Why send a
dozen roses when three dozen will do? Why call once, if 20 calls might show one's desire more? Why buy a small gift
when a big one will display one's intentions better? There is a strategic value to such hyper-intimacy behaviors, as
Dunn's (1999, 2002) research shows. In her scenario-based research with college females, she found that the trappings
of romance and courtship promoted ambivalence in the female. A male who shows up after only one prior date at the
doorstep of the woman early on a weekend morning is perceived as both somewhat romantic and somewhat
threatening, and this ambivalence seemed more balanced between these attributions when the male showed up with
flowers in hand. Such ambivalence may serve to inhibit more forceful rejection, to prolong the opportunities for
contact, and make it more difficult at a later time for the victim to extricate from the situation.
Mediated contacts are all forms of communication efforts performed through technologies, including email, IM, the
Internet, PDAs, cellphones, faxes, pagers, and the like. In its more virulent forms, mediated stalking is often referred to
as cyber-stalking (Alexy, Burgess, Baker & Smoyak, 2005; Spitzberg & Hoobler, 2002). Relatively little is known of
the comparability of pure cyber-stalking cases and real-world (RW) cases (Bocij and McFarlane, 2003), but some
evidence indicates that it is not uncommon for cyber-stalkers to also seek to engage in RW stalking (Alexy et al., 2005;
Finn, 2004; Spitzberg & Hoobler, 2002), and there is evidence that a fair amount of RW stalking employs some degree
of electronic stalking (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004).
Interactional contacts represent a range of activities oriented toward face-to-face or proximal conversation. This
includes behaviors oriented toward direct contact such as sitting next to the person in public spaces, physical
approaches, appearing at various places, intruding into ongoing conversations with others, personal space intrusions,
pursuing common activities and locations, as well as behaviors oriented to indirect contact through third-parties. Third-
parties are often associates of the pursuer, but stalkers also often inveigle themselves into the social or occupational
network of the victim as well.
Surveillance tactics represent what are, in many ways, the common stereotype of stalkingthe systematic attempt
to secure knowledge or information about the victim without the victim's awareness. Interestingly, although this
activity is commonly associated with stalking, by itself it would rarely qualify as stalking because of its typically covert
nature. Stalking generally must invoke fear, and if surveillance is indeed covert, it is unknown to the victim.
Nevertheless, stalkers often pursue both mundane (e.g., following, observing in public places) to exotic (electronic
surveillance, computer Trojan horses) means to obtain information about the objects of their pursuit.
Invasion tactics are activities that involve the violation of normatively prescribed personal and legal boundaries,
such as the theft of information, breaking and entering into a person's premises, and trespassing. Such activities may
reflect a level of escalation over the prior tactics, as they evidence a boldness and risk of felonious legal ramifications if
the pursuer is caught in violation of such boundaries. They also represent a level of escalation because most of these
tactics create some risk of encountering the victim or others in the process of such violation, thereby escalating the
potential reactivity of the encounter.
Harassment and intimidation represents a variety of aggressive verbal or nonverbal activities designed to bother,
annoy, or otherwise stress the victim. Insults, seeking to harm the person's reputation, spreading rumors, harassing
network associates of the victim, seeking to complicate the victim's economic or regulatory status, or simply engaging
in excessive persistence of efforts at contact (e.g., calling non-stop for hours, sitting vigil outside the person's home) all
represent somewhat less than threatening but certainly troublesome activities.
When the stalker escalates from intimidation to coercion and threat behaviors, the tone of the activity shifts to
implicit or explicit suggestion of potential harm that may befall the victim. Threats may be against loved ones, pets,
property, colleagues, the victim, or even to the pursuer (e.g., threatening to commit suicide), but they collectively imply
an attempt to influence the victim through potential harm, presumably under the control of the stalker. Across all the
samples, 54% of stalking cases involve some issuance of threat (SD=24, N= 54). This figure, however, varies
significantly across sample types (M
= 61, SD = 17, N= 29; M
= 40, SD = 22, N=13; M
= 29, SD = 24,
N= 12; F= 12.66; df = 2,51; p< .001; η
= .33). Threats seem much more common among the presumably more severe
types of stalking, those that come to the attention of clinical and forensic forms of intervention, although over a quarter
of college cases of stalking involve threats as well.
The final category of stalking activity is physical aggression and violence. This category involves vandalism, use of
a weapon, assault, injury, attempted suicide and suicide, attempted rape and rape, and attempted homicide and
homicide. When forms of violence were aggregated or summarized within and across samples, 32% of stalking cases
involved physical violence (SD = 22, N= 82), and 12% involved sexual violence (SD = 10, N= 36). Although there
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were variations across sample types, they did not achieve statistical significance, for either physical (M
= 36,
SD = 24, N= 42; M
= 34, SD = 19, N= 18; M
= 23, SD = 21, N= 19) or sexual (M
= 11, SD = 10, N= 21;
= 15, SD = 11, N=7; M
= 13, SD = 7, N= 8) violence.
One of the ongoing interests is the diagnostic value of threatsdoes the issuance of threats by a stalker predict
stalker aggression? Such a question has important potential implications for diagnosis of danger and the importance
of intervention. There are several reasons to expect threats to have a relatively limited connection to behavior. First,
threats are part of everyday discourse, and often reflect expressive rather than instrumental motives. Second, threats
are often successfulthat is, a threat that works does not have to be carried through in its promised punishment.
Third, interventions sometimes prevent threats from being carried through. For example, victims sometimes move to
a remote location or the pursuer is incarcerated. Fourth, sometimes the pursuit simply begins to die down of its own
accord, because the pursuer loses interest or the process becomes too difficult to sustain. In addition, violence
sometimes is perpetrated with no threat or warning. Thus, there is potential for both false positives (threats but no
violence) and false negatives (violence but no threats). Across the sample of studies, there is a strong correlation
between threats and use of physical violence (r=.63, p<.001, N= 51) but not between threats and sexual aggression
(r=.13, ns, N= 29). The rate at which physical violence occurs in stalking studies correlates to the rate at which
sexual aggression occurs as well (r=.49, p< .005, N= 36). According to 13 studies reviewed by Cupach and
Spitzberg (2004), false positives average 62% (SD = 12, N= 12) indicating a 38% true positive rate, and a false
negative rate of 16% (SD =7.70, N=10), indicating a true negative rate of 84% of times no threat is made, no
violence occurs. Thus, the non-occurrence of a threat is relatively diagnostic, and the use of threats increases the
likelihood, but cannot be considered highly diagnostic, despite the high correlation, which of course, cannot
designate causality.
4. Mapping the contents of victim and intervention behavior
Like a landlord with a troublesome tenant, victims of stalking often find they have far less authority and power than
seems appropriate. Stalkers often exploit the various freedoms often taken for granted, or even legally guaranteed. For
example, much of what constitutes stalking, behaviors such as following and calling, represent basic rights of freedom
of expression, movement and assembly. Furthermore, by exploiting the ambiguous zones of behavior between
courtship and harassment, stalkers often steer clear of outright illegal behavior. Finally, even when legal steps are taken,
such as the issuance of a protective order, stalkers often find they are able to test the boundaries of such constraints
without stepping over them. It is not surprising therefore that victims often find themselves straining to locate any
effective means of deterring the campaign of pursuit that has been waged against them.
As with the tactics of pursuit, many studies have examined victim coping responses. Coping responses can be seen
as attempts to respond to an interpersonal stressor. The victim is being pressed by an unwanted intruder, and is seeking
some form of response that will relieve the stress created by this intrusion. In reviewing the hundreds of tactics studied
across dozens of studies, Cupach and Spitzberg (2004, Spitzberg, 2002) have identified a coherent five-category
functional classification of victim coping responses: moving with, moving against, moving away, moving inward, and
moving outward.
Moving with tactics represent efforts to negotiate with the pursuer in search of a peaceful end or delimitation of the
unwanted pursuit. Victims often attempt to reason with the pursuer, politely request, or even plead with the pursuer to
view the relationship differently and cease the unwanted pursuit. The stereotypical let's just be friendsmay be one of
the more recognizable conversational resources employed in early efforts to divert a campaign of unwanted pursuit.
Such tactics may work in the majority of everyday disjunctive relationships, but are likely to fail miserably when the
pursuer is on a trajectory of stalkingsuch conversations can always be rationalized to contain a glimmer of hope
entailed in future interactions.
Moving against tactics represent efforts to threaten, injure, or otherwise deter the pursuer. Victims sometimes
threaten to call the police, a third-party capable of inflicting harm on the pursuer, or other sources (e.g., a boss, an EEO
officer). Victims may even directly threaten to inflict the harm themselves. Such tactics may or may not work, but
experts on the topic of stalking generally advise strongly against such tactics. Not only do they offer another round of
potential interaction, they also (a) demonstrate the importance of the pursuer in the victim's life, (b) escalate the overall
intensity of the interactions, (c) diminish the credibility of future actions should the victim not go through with the
threats, and (d) risk increasing the public face threat to the pursuer, which can elicit dangerous emotional reactions.
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Moving away tactics reflect attempts to be where the pursuer is not or cannot go. There are manifold examples,
including unlisting phone numbers, changing to a post office box for mail, screening all calls, blocking numbers and
email addresses, changing physical address, altering routes to and from scheduled activities, moving about in public
only with friends, and so forth. Moving away also suggests treating the pursuer as a non-personshould venues arise in
which co-presence occurs. That is, victims refuse to respond in any way to the pursuer's attempts at contact. Presenting
a smaller physical and electronic footprint makes pursuit more time-consuming and exhausting. It also diminishes
opportunities for positive reinforcement, which may be any form of contact, regardless of emotional content of the
interaction. As de Becker (1997) notes, if a victim ignores the first 99 calls and picks up the 100th to scream insults at
the pursuer, all this achieves is to inform and encourage the pursuer that it takes 100 calls to make contact. Although
moving away has the unfortunate effect of placing the burden of responsibility and costs on the victim, most experts on
stalking tend to accept this approach as both a necessary initial approach, and often the most effective in the long run.
Moving inward activities reflect efforts by victims to engage in denial, distraction, or redefinition. These activities
include attempts to act as if the problem is nothing, engaging in meditation, seeking religious insight, becoming a shut-
in, taking drugs, or otherwise attempting to deny or mask the threat or stress. Although some of these activities may
help manage the stresses attending victimization, they are unlikely to deflect the course of action of the pursuer.
Furthermore, some of them (e.g., sheltering in place, taking drugs) may even exacerbate the situation by making the
victim a more available and malleable target for harassment.
Moving outward activities involve the solicitation and utilization of third-party assistance. This can range from
informal support resources such as seeking advice or shelter from a friend to more formal resources such as seeking
counseling, law enforcement intervention, or a protective order. Across a number of studies, it appears that
approximately half of stalking victims contact police (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004). Once police are contacted, one of
the common remedies considered is the protection order. A protective, or restraining, order is issued by a judge and
typically places legally enforceable restrictions on the types of contact and proximity any or all of the parties are
permitted relative to one another. In many jurisdictions, violation of a restraining order increases the potential severity
of subsequent penalties for stalking, such as changing it from a misdemeanour to a felony. Unfortunately, there is not
very extensive evidence regarding their efficacy.
Most of the research on restraining orders has focused on domestic violence, in which stalking is a common but far
from universal part of the process. Nevertheless, across 40 studies of restraining orders identified by Cupach and
Spitzberg (2004), 4 of 10 respondents reported some instance of non-compliance by the pursuer or violent partner, and
about a fifth (22%) overall reported that in some way the situation got worse after or because of the order. Recent
multivariate studies seem to show that reoccurrence of violence is lessened in the presence of a protective order (Logan,
Nigoff, Walker & Jordan, 2002; McFarlane et al., 2004). Nevertheless, the decision to obtain a restraining order raises
significant and complicated issues, such as the opportunity for the pursuer to encounter the victim in a public venue, the
escalation of what the pursuer may consider a private matter to a public matter, and the potential escalating involvement
entailed in having an officer deliver or enforce the order.
5. Mapping the effects of stalking
The symptomatology of stalking has generally been conducted from the perspective of psychological trauma, or
disruption of victim's life. Much of this research has overlooked various sorts of potential costs and symptoms
associated with a campaign of unwanted pursuit. These costs can be understood along two dimensions: relational order
effects, and personal versus societal effects.
Relational order effects refers to the fact that when one person experiences disruptions, those around that person also
experience various forms of disruption. Symptoms are systemic, and they reverberate in various ways into the social
fabric in which the victim is entwined. These relational effects can be considered first-order, second-order, and third-
order effects. First-order effects are those that the victim experiences directly, such as harms to psychological, physical,
emotional, or financial costs associated with avoiding or coping with unwanted pursuit. The costs of counseling, the
stress of ongoing fear, and so on, extract their toll directly on the victim. Second-order effects are the disruptions that
occur among the social and institutional networks affiliated with the victim. Friends may adapt their commuting
schedules to accommodate sharing rides with the victim. Family members may spend more time advising the victim.
Co-workers may have to compensate for missed work days. Third-order effects are unique effects that result among
these network members as the unwanted pursuit may begin to affect them directly. For example, those who help victims
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avoid a stalker may become targets of the stalker as well. Family members may develop depression or stress disorders
as they worry about the victim's plight (see Riger, Raja, & Camacho, 2002).
These types of effects are not restricted entirely to the individual. The individual exists in a larger social system. The
victim's use of law enforcement draws upon their own limited institutional resources of time and money. Police called
to address a phone or proximity violation of a restraining order are police who cannot be somewhere else at that time.
Psychological and health care visits made by the victim take up valuable resources in a sector of society often already
overburdened. Legal proceedings take up valuable resources of the municipality and judicial system. Days missed at
work represent undeveloped productivity. Thus, stalking victimization carries often unseen costs. One recent effort to
quantify such costs due to stalking in America estimated the total societal costs at $342 million a year (Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 2003).
These levels of effects represent wherethe effect is, but another way of examining effects of stalking victimization
is to identify the type of effect. Examining dozens of studies of stalking victimization, eight categories of effects
emerge: general disturbance, affective health, social health, resource health, cognitive health, physical health,
behavioral disturbance, and resilience. General disturbance is typically indicated by a general item or set of items
referring to emotional or psychological or lifestyle difficulties experienced in general. Studies of PTSD would also
represent a summary of such effects. Affective health refers to effects such as anger, anxiety, depression, fear, jealousy,
paranoia, and other forms of feeling states. Social health refers to the impact of stalking on the victim's relationships
with others, including friends, family, and colleagues. Cognitive health effects include such mental states as confusion,
distrust, suspiciousness, self-esteem, suicide ideation, and so forth. Physical health effects include forms of addictions,
appetite or sleep disturbance, and changes in lifestyle patterns. Finally, seldom studied resilience effects represent cases
in which the victim perceives that aspects of life improve, such as the recognition and appreciation of the strength of
social or family network ties, the development of self-confidence, or engaging in self-defence and physical training that
bolsters general health and promotes self-efficacy.
The research clearly demonstrates strong associations between stalking victimization and deleterious effects along
multiple dimensions of these symptoms (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004; Spitzberg, 2002). There are at least two potential
problems with presuming causation at this point. First, some of these disorders may precede the stalking. Given that such
disorders may facilitate relational disorders, which may in turn promote relationship dissolution, stalking may
occasionally emerge out of the dysfunctional relational system. Second, to date only a few studies have even attempted
to evaluate more complex aspects of such symptomatology, such as the counteracting effects of resilience, the relative
increase or decrease of symptomatology over time in relationship to specific stalking actions, the increase of symptoms
relative to baseline, or the systemic effects of victims interacting with multiple levels of the extended social and societal
network. Indeed, Mechanic (2003, Mechanic, Uhlmansiek, Weaver, & Resick, 2000) has suggested that traditional
models of PTSD may not apply to stalking because they tend to operate on an eventbased model of trauma, and
stressors like stalking are prolonged forms of stress that involve not only specific events but significant anticipations of
future potentially catastrophic effects. The specific processes by which such long-term stressors with no obvious horizon
accumulate, may require new conceptualizations and operationalizations of stalking victimization and symptomatology.
6. Explaining stalking and obsessive relational intrusion
The early stages of studying any complex phenomenon or process often begins with a question of types: Are there
different types of this phenomenon? Typologies often represent pre-theoretical frameworks, and sometimes have built
within them theoretical dimensions that become relevant to explaining a phenomenon. It is not surprising, therefore,
that there has been extensive typological speculation and research about stalking and unwanted relationship pursuit.
Table 2 reflects a summary of the major typologies that have been developed.
There are three main dimensions explored by these typologies: (a) type of underlying disorder, whether
physiological, psychological, or both, (b) type of original relationship and context, and (c) primary motivation, such as
love or revenge. That many of the early typologies depended heavily upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (i.e.,
DSM) reflects the strong psychological bias with which stalking was originally pursued. The inclusion of relational and
contextual variables kept the door open to communication and personal relationship scholars to investigate many of the
more normative facets of the unwanted pursuit process. The motivational features of these typologies reflect the
recognition of the essential probative value of this information in evaluating the potential risks people face from such
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Table 2
Summary of stalker typologies
Author (s) Dimensions Categories
Bates (1999) Intimate partner
Batza and Taylor (1999) Public figure Attachment seekers
Interpersonal Identity seekers
Rejection-based stalkers
Delusion-based stalkers
Boon and Sheridan (2001) Harassment/stalking
Infatuation harassment
Delusional fixation stalking
Sadistic stalking
Calhoun (1998) Howlers
Davis and Chipman (1997) Erotomanic (target unknown) Random-targeting
Single-issue targeting
Love-obsessional (target known) Casual acquaintance
Simple-obsessional (target former intimate) Intimate partner-targeting
Domestic violence-targeting
Del Ben (2000) Amorous
Dziegielewski and Roberts (1995) Domestic violence
Erotomania or delusional
Emerson et al. (1998) Unacquainted
Pseudo-acquainted (e.g., celebrity)
Semi-acquainted (e.g., coworker)
Hall (1997) Post-intimate relationship
Hargreaves (n.d.) Prior relationship × interpersonal distance× role of
information × stalking style
Harmon, Rosner, and Owens (1998) Motive × relationship type (Amorous, persecutory)
(Stranger, acquaintance, intimate)
Holmes (1993, 1998) Victim type Celebrity
Selection Hit
Motivation Political
Anticipated gain Lust
Fatal violence Scorned
Intended Domestic
Sexual motivation
Melton (2000) Delusional/unknown victim Erotomanic or delusional
Love obsessional
Nondelusional/unknown victim Nuisance
(continued on next page)
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As useful as typologies are, they are ultimately not explanations or complete theories. To date, only a relatively
small number of theories have been proffered to account for the unwanted pursuit process. One potential reason for the
paucity is that theorists of social processes tend to think in terms of conjunctive rather than disjunctive relationships.
With the exceptions of studies of divorce, sexual harassment, sexual aggression, and conflict processes, most theories
of relational processes focus on forces and factors that bring people together and function to keep them together.
As research on stalking and unwanted relationship pursuit has progressed, at least two theoretical frameworks have
emerged to explain how it is that a relationship can persist over time in which one person explicitly does not want the
relationship to continue. These approaches can be summarized as attachment theory and relational goal pursuit theory.
These two perspectives may well be entirely complementary.
Table 2 (continued)
Author (s) Dimensions Categories
Delusional/known victim Love-scorned
Nondelusional/known victim Domestic or simple obsessional
Palarea (2004) Assaulters
Mullen, Pathé, Purcell, and Stuart (1999) Rejected (reconciliation and rage)
Intimacy-seeking (infatuation)
Incompetent (attracted, no illusions)
Resentful (intimidation and fear)
Predatory (sexual attack)
Rosenfeld (2000) Motive (love vs. revenge)× relationship (real vs.
Dependent/borderline personality
Psychotic mood disorder
Paranoid/antisocial/borderline personality
Delusional disorder
Erotomanic psychotic/mood disorder
Delusional disorder
Persecutory psychotic disorder
Schell and Lanteigne (2000) Revenge
Sheridan, Gillett, and Davies (2000) Contact behaviors
Violent behaviors
Proximity behaviors
Simon (1996) Celebrity
Immature romantic
Dependent rejection-sensitive
Borderline personality
Sinclair and Frieze (2005) Normal courtship approach behaviors
Verbal and physical aggression
Spitzberg and Cupach (2002) Mode (expressive × instrumental)× motive
(love × revenge)
Tonin (2004) Fixated (single victim)
Serial (multiple victim)
Wright et al. (1996) Nondomestic Organized
Domestic Nondelusional
Zona, Sharma, and Lane (1993) Simple obsessional (prior relationship)
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6.1. Attachment theory
Attachment theory is currently popular among clinical and social psychologists alike, and the theory seems well-
suited to partially explain unwanted pursuit and stalking. In its early development, attachment theory demonstrated the
significance of the bonding experience between infants and their primary caregivers (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, &
Wall, 1978; Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980). Securely attached infants derive security from accessible and responsive
caregivers, whereas insecurely attached infants experience rejection, abandonment, or indifference from primary
caregivers. Insecure attachment manifests itself in infant tendencies either to be avoidant (i.e., detached from the
primary caregiver) or anxious/ambivalent (i.e., desire comfort from the caregiver but fear it will be withdrawn). These
tendencies acquired in infancy presumably guide one's orientation to attachment figures throughout the lifespan, and
the three styles of secure attachment, anxious ambivalence, and avoidance are reflected in intimate adult relationships
(Hazan & Shaver, 1987).
In studies of attachment tendencies in adult relationships, the tripartite conceptualization of attachment evolved into
four categories based on the crossing of two dimensions: one's mental model of self, and one's mental model of others
(Bartholomew, 1990; Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991). A positively viewed self is worthy of love and support,
whereas a negatively viewed self is unworthy. Positively viewed others are seen as reliable and supportive partners;
negatively viewed others are seen as unreliable and rejecting partners. Securely attached individuals possess positive
views of both self and others. Individuals with preoccupied attachment, akin to anxious ambivalence, have a negative
view of self but a positive view of others. They pursue self-acceptance by seeking to obtain the acceptance of important
others. Those with dismissive-avoidant attachment possess a positive view of self but a negative view of others. They
anticipate being devalued and protect themselves accordingly by maintaining relational distance. When individuals
hold negative views of both self and others, they are labeled fearful-avoidant. Although they desire acceptance, they
expect rejection.
Most recently, scholars tend to favor assessment of two empirical dimensions that underlie attachment orientations
(e.g., Brennen, Clark, & Shaver, 1998; Simpson, Rholes, & Phillips, 1996). The dimension of avoidance captures the
tendencies to feel uncomfortable with intimacy and to eschew relationship closeness. The dimension of anxiety taps
into the proclivity to worry obsessively about partner abandonment and the loss of desired relationship intimacy. Thus,
avoidance characterizes dismissing and fearful attachment orientations more than preoccupied and secure orientations,
whereas anxiety characterizes preoccupied and fearful orientations more than dismissing and secure orientations
(Feeney, 1999).
Insecure attachment, and in particular, preoccupied attachment, would seem to be a logical precursor to difficulties in
managing desired but unreciprocated relationships. Based on clinical observations, Meloy (1989, 1992, 1996, 1998)
proposed that stalking could be attributed to pathology of attachment. A number of research findings indirectly support
the potential role of attachment disorders in fueling obsessive relationship pursuit. For example, Kienlen, Birmingham,
Solberg, O'Regan, and Meloy (1997) observed in a small sample of incarcerated stalkers that the majority had lost a
primary caretaker in childhood. They also found that many of the stalkers had also lost an important personal
relationship in the six months prior to engaging in stalking. Other studies have demonstrated that individuals with
preoccupied (anxious ambivalent) attachment tend to manifest love styles characterized by obsessiveness,
possessiveness, and desperation (Feeney & Noller, 1990; Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Levy & Davis, 1988; Shaver &
Hazan, 1988; Sperling & Berman, 1991). Furthermore, preoccupied individuals experience greater upset regarding the
breakup of a close relationship and they have greater difficulty recovering from a breakup (Barbara & Dion, 2002;
Feeney & Noller, 1992). Consistent with these findings, several studies more directly have shown that anxious or
preoccupied attachment is associated with stalking (Langhinrichsen-Rohling & Rohling, 2000; Lewis, Fremouw, Del
Ben, & Farr, 2001; Tonin, 2004). Tonin (2004) reported that fixated stalkers (i.e., those who followed the same target of
infatuation for an extended period of time) were more preoccupied than serial stalkers (i.e., those who followed many
targets and intended sexual contact). Research also implicates anxious or preoccupied attachment in the tendency to
harass and stalk a former partner after a breakup (e.g., Davis, Ace, & Andra, 2000; Dye & Davis, 2003; Langhinrichsen-
Rohling et al., 2000). Although the avoidant attachment style has also been suggested as a possible precursor to stalking
(Kienlen, 1998), the evidence to support this link is lacking thus far (Lewis et al., 2001; Montero, 2003).
To the extent attachment disorders represent relatively distal dispositional phenomena manifested in
pyschopathological behaviors, attachment theory marries well with clinical approaches to stalking. However, it
seems likely that much unwanted relationship pursuit emerges from the challenges and ambiguities that surround the
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ordinary negotiation of developing and disengaging close relationships (Cupach, Spitzberg, & Carson, 2000; Dunn,
1999; Emerson et al., 1998; Spitzberg & Cupach, 2001b, 2002). Relational goal pursuit theory (Cupach & Spitzberg,
2004) was devised to provide an account of the more proximal processes that contribute to the escalation of persistence
in relationship pursuit.
6.2. Relational goal pursuit theory
Relational goal pursuit theory is grounded in the assumption that people pursue relationships because they are
desired end states. In other words, people acquire goals to possess certain kinds of relationships with other individuals
to the extent that such relationships are viewed as both desirable and feasible. As with any goal, when a relationship
goal is thwarted, the individual exerts greater effort to achieve the goal to a degree to commensurate with its
desirability, assuming goal achievement is still seen as possible (DiPaula & Campbell, 2002). When the effort required
to achieve a goal exceeds the value of goal attainment, or when the goal is viewed as impossible to attain, then the goal
is abandoned in favor of pursuing an alternative goal. Relational goal pursuit theory proposes that individuals who
obsessively and excessively pursue a relationship that is expressly eschewed by the other, tend to inflate the importance
of their relational goal, which leads to a constellation of thoughts and feelings that fuel persistent relationship pursuit.
People's goals are organized in a hierarchical fashion (Martin & Tesser, 1989). Lower-order goals are more easily
discarded or replaced, but higher-order goals are more inveterate. Goal linking occurs when an individual perceives
that particular lower-order goals are essential for achieving higher-order goals (McIntosh, 1996; McIntosh & Martin,
1992). Obsessive relationship pursuers link their lower-order goal of possessing a particular relationship with higher-
order goals such as life happiness and self-worth (Cupach & Spitzberg, 2004; Cupach et al., 2000). Because of this
linking, obsessive pursuers come to believe that their happiness and self-worth are predicated on successful attainment
of the particular relationship that is sought. Consequently, the relational goal takes on exaggerated importance and it is
pursued in a vigorous and persistent manner, even in the face of obstacles and resistance.
To the extent the relational goal is thwarted, linking promotes rumination (McIntosh, Harlow, & Martin, 1995;
McIntosh & Martin, 1992). The relational pursuer experiences the nagging, persistent, and unpleasant thoughts that
derive from failing to achieve an important goal (Martin & Tesser, 1989, 1996). In considering the consequences of
goal success or goal failure, anticipatory emotions arise (Bagozzi, Baumgartner, & Pieters, 1998). Obsessive pursuers
amplify the anticipation of sadness, distress, fear, and anguish that would attend failure to achieve the desired
relationship. Because people may feel that failure to meet the goals to which they are devoted will threaten their self-
worth, they may make dire predictions about the emotional impact of such failure(Pomerantz, Saxon, & Oishi, 2000,
p. 618). These thoughts escalate in intensity and frequency over time, until the unmet relational goal is attained or
abandoned. Given the linking of the relational goal to higher-order goals, goal abandonment is unlikely (McIntosh &
Martin, 1992). Instead, rumination motivates persistence and tenacity in striving for the desired goal (Bagozzi et al.,
1998; Carson & Cupach, 2000; Pomerantz et al., 2000).
Concomitant with ruminative thought is the experience of emotional flooding. Frustration of an important relational
goal can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, hurt, jealousy, and shame (Cupach et al., 2000). Rumination fosters
negative affect (McIntosh & Martin, 1992), and negative affect stimulates further rumination (Martin & Tesser, 1996).
Both promote persistence in striving for the relational goal as its achievement is seen as the only path to relief from the
aversive thoughts and feelings (Carson & Cupach, 2000).
Goals are persistently pursued when they are seen not only as desirable, but also as attainable (Locke & Latham,
1990). Thus, feelings of self-efficacy regarding the attainment of a particular goal contribute to the persistence of its
pursuit (Bagozzi, 1992). Obsessive relational pursuers rationalize that with sufficient effort, they will ultimately
achieve their desired relational goal. If they encounter barriers to the relational goal, they believe that more persistent
and intense goal striving activity is warranted and will ultimately be successful.
In addition to exaggerations of the feasibility of goal attainment, obsessive relational pursuers are prone to a number
of other rationalizations (Cupach et al., 2000). Aside from idealization of the desired partner, obsessive pursuers
misconstrue neutral or rejecting behaviors by the pursued individual as encouragement. The negative consequences of
obsessive pursuit for the pursued individual are downplayed or overlooked entirely. Because pursuers are focused on
attaining their relational goal, they fail to realize the anxiety and inconvenience they create for the pursued. Moreover,
obsessive pursuers attribute their actions to noble intentions such as pursuing loveand connection, which ostensibly
justify persistent behaviors.
78 B.H. Spitzberg, W.R. Cupach / Aggression and Violent Behavior 12 (2007) 6486
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In summary, relational goal pursuit theory suggests that obsessive relational pursuers link the goal of having a
particular relationship to higher-order goals such as happiness and self-worth. This exaggerates the necessity of
achieving the relational goal. When the goal is blocked, the pursuer experiences rumination and negative affect, which
motivate persistence of pursuit of the desired relationship. Self-efficacy and other rationalizations perpetuate the
desirability and feasibility of relational goal attainment. Collectively, these increasingly intense feelings and desperate
and distorted thoughts disinhibit the pursuer's conception of how much persistence is appropriate. Normally the
pursuer would realize the futility of pursuing the relational goal and abandon it. For obsessive pursuers, however, goal
linking, rumination, negative affect, self-efficacy, and rationalizations conspire to promote persistence of relational
goal pursuit activities.
Preliminary tests of relational goal pursuit theory have been conducted in the context of attempts to reconcile a
terminated romantic relationship. Dutton-Greene (2004) studied individuals who reported having difficulty letting go
of a relational partner after the breakup of a romantic relationship. She found that rumination, along with feelings of
anger and jealousy after the breakup were associated with the degree of post-breakup pursuit of the former relationship.
In another study of terminated romantic relationships, Cupach, Spitzberg, Younghans, and Gibbons (2006) found that
linking, rumination and global emotional flooding were associated with persistence of reconciliation attempts
(although emotional flooding failed to make a unique contribution because of its substantial correlation with
rumination, r= .82). Self-efficacy also predicted persistence of reconciliation attempts for those participa nts who
reported on a breakup initiated by their partner. Self-efficacy did not predict persistence for participants who initiated
the breakup, however. The predictive role of other rationalizations awaits empirical verification in future research.
7. Courtship and the construction of stalking
Stalking is often seen stereotypically as a violent crime evolving from mental illness and involving celebrity
encounters (Lowney & Best, 1995; Spitzberg & Cadiz, 2002). Research, in contrast, indicates that stalking is most
typically an extension of relatively normal relationships, and thrives on the ambivalent motives often located within
such relationships. In particular, the romantic courtship process thrives on ambiguity (Metts & Spitzberg, 1996), which
permits considerable leeway for misperceptions and unrequited affections to evolve (Baumeister & Wotman, 1992;
Cupach & Spitzberg, 1998, 2004; Cupach et al., 2000). While there is little doubt that stalking often does turn violent,
and that stalkers are often influenced by psychological disorders and do pursue strangers and public figures, most
stalking represents a distorted version of courtship and romantic relationship failure.
To the extent that stalking is a product of relatively normal relationship processes, it becomes important to shift
its conceptualization away from its more psychiatric and pathologized roots, and ground it more in theories of
relationship process and development. In much the same way that the study of domestic violence has begun to
recognize a viable distinction between the more criminal and pathological form of interpersonal terrorism and the
occurrence of common couple violence (Johnson, 1995), stalking research may need to recognize the differences
between stalking in its more severe and dangerous forms, and its more common forms of obsessive relational
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... For example, behaviors such as making telephone calls, sending gifts, and waiting outside a person's workplace may not seem threatening in isolation and within the context of courtship. However, if these behaviors are unwanted and executed repeatedly against the same person, they can be threatening [2][3][4]. No standardized definition or defining criteria of stalking have been established; rather, it has been defined in many ways, including by strict legal definitions that require the stalker to demonstrate intent and the victim to feel fear or by broader definitions that include lists of constituent behavior, see, e.g., [5,6]. ...
... Regardless of the type and severity of stalking and intrusive activities, the adverse effects experienced by the victims are clearly substantial. Stalking victims commonly experience a large range of psychological, physical, social, occupational, and financial costs [3]. Stalking victimization can result in increased levels of stress, fear, helplessness, and disenchantment [17]. ...
... A large majority of those who perpetrate stalking and intrusive behaviors (i.e., stalkers) are the victims' former intimate partners (49-81%), followed in frequency by victims' acquaintances (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22).5%) and strangers (10-18%) [20][21][22][23]. Stalkers were found to be motivated by a desire to control their victims or to rebuild a relationship with them (mostly by former intimate partners), by the victim's attractiveness (mostly by acquaintances), or by a desire to harass or harm the victim (e.g., victim intimidation; mostly by strangers) [3,20]. ...
Full-text available
Many studies of stalking and intrusive behaviors are conducted with samples from individualist Western cultures, and limited information is available on such behavior in collectivist cultures. By using a sample of 1143 adults (440 males and 703 females) from Hong Kong (n = 305), mainland China (n = 464), and Ghana (n = 374), this study compares perceptions and experiences of stalking and intrusive behaviors as well as the frequency and duration of the participants’ worst experiences with such behaviors. The lifetime prevalence rate of stalking victimization for the overall sample was 34.6%, 22.3% for the Hong Kongers, 32.3% for the mainland Chinese, and 47.3% for the Ghanaians. Relative to the Hong Kongers and Ghanaians, the mainland Chinese were more likely to judge most intrusive activities as unacceptable. However, the mainland Chinese were generally less likely to have experienced the listed intrusive activities than their counterparts. The Ghanaians, in contrast, reported significantly more victimization experiences than the Hong Kongers and the mainland Chinese, especially with aggression and surveillance, unwanted attention, and persistent courtship and imposition types of behaviors. Furthermore, the mainland Chinese and Ghanaians generally reported significantly higher frequencies of stalking and intrusive behavior in their worst experiences than did the Hong Kongers. Conversely, the Hong Kongers and Ghanaians reported significantly more persistent types of stalking and intrusive behaviors than the mainland Chinese. The results of this study indicate the need for anti-stalking legislation in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Ghana, given the devastating nature and consequences of stalking and intrusive behaviors there.
... Focusing especially on the relational factors in stalking motivation, Spitzberg and Cupach (2007) argue that there is a significant overlap between stalking and obsessive relational intrusion (ORI) as most of the wide and contradictory motivations for stalking indicate intent to initiate some form of relationship. In a separate study, Cupach and Spitzberg (2004) found evidence to suggest that stalking could be driven by a range of motivations, from love and reconcilement to retribution and terrorization. ...
... Similar trends were identified in their meta-analysis of twenty-four articles discussing stalker motivation as motives related to intimacy were found to represent a third of the sample, with aggressive motives representing a fourth to a fifth, disabilities representing just over a tenth and task or problem associated motives representing over a tenth (Spitzberg and Cupach, 2007). However, while Spitzberg and Cupach (2007) acknowledge the inconsistency and variety of stalking motives, it is argued that as stalking is frequently driven by the intention to develop a relationship, it intersects with ORI considerably, with a significant proportion of stalking starting as ORI, or some ORI behaviours becoming progressively intimidating and hence qualifying as stalking. ...
... Similar trends were identified in their meta-analysis of twenty-four articles discussing stalker motivation as motives related to intimacy were found to represent a third of the sample, with aggressive motives representing a fourth to a fifth, disabilities representing just over a tenth and task or problem associated motives representing over a tenth (Spitzberg and Cupach, 2007). However, while Spitzberg and Cupach (2007) acknowledge the inconsistency and variety of stalking motives, it is argued that as stalking is frequently driven by the intention to develop a relationship, it intersects with ORI considerably, with a significant proportion of stalking starting as ORI, or some ORI behaviours becoming progressively intimidating and hence qualifying as stalking. ...
The primary aim of this study was to investigate the motivation of cyberstalking and how this compared to traditional (offline) stalking. The occurrence of violence and the characteristics of cyber stalkers and victims were also explored as secondary objectives. The findings were examined alongside traditional stalking literature to determine whether these features were distinct or followed trends in offline stalking. To achieve this, a systematic review was carried out using journal articles from Scopus and Google Scholar. Specific criteria for the articles included studies producing primary data, being published before August 2021 and discussing cyberstalking motivation. In total, seventeen articles were collected for data analysis. Analysis was performed using qualitative content analysis wherein codes were informed by previous research and data from the articles. The findings indicated a wide range of motivations for cyberstalking, many of which were related to intimate relationship dynamics, an association also observed in traditional stalking. Nonetheless, results suggested that there were motives specific to cyberstalking, particularly in causing distress to the victim. Furthermore, the findings indicated that incidences of violence were more infrequent for cyberstalking than traditional stalking although the types of violence involved were similar, ranging from minor to serious harm. The characteristics of cyber stalkers and victims were mostly consistent with traditional stalking except for gender and relationship to the victim. Overall, cyberstalking motivation, violence and the characteristics of cyber stalkers and victims were found to be mostly similar to traditional stalking excluding some key differences. This study highlights the variation in cyberstalking motivation and characteristics from traditional stalking, helping to better predict cyberstalking perpetration and victimisation. Lastly, the findings demonstrate that cyberstalking can involve violence, stressing the physical risks to victims despite being based on the internet.
... Largescale representative surveys conducted in Australia, the U.S., and the U.K. during the past decade largely identified similar lifetime prevalence rates of stalking victimization, with one in five women and one in 12 men in Australia and the U.K. [1,2] and one in six women and one in 18 men in the U.S. experiencing stalking victimization [3]. There are various definitions of stalking, from a narrow legal definition that requires the stalker to demonstrate intent and the victim to feel fear, to broader definitions that encompass lists of constituent behaviors (see [4]). Although most of the research on stalking has been conducted in Australia, the U.S., and the U.K., an increasing number of studies conducted in under-researched populations (e.g., Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Lithuania, mainland China, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Singapore, and Spain) have found stalking to be a common, and perhaps universal, problem [5][6][7][8][9]. ...
... Indeed, a meta-analysis by Spitzberg [11] indicated that over 70% of stalkers were male, and more than 80% of victims were female. A further meta-analysis of 175 studies by Spitzberg and Cupach [4] concluded that females were more likely than males to experience stalking victimization at some time in their lives (28.5% vs. 11% lifetime risk, respectively). Only a few studies in Spitzberg's [11] review reported stalking perpetration rates, and of these, the mean rates were 16% for males and 9% for females. ...
... Most ex-intimate partner stalkers appear to be motivated by the need to control their victim or the desire to restart a relationship [16,17]. Other common motives include a desire for sex, seeking revenge, and victim intimidation [4]. A victim's risk of experiencing psychological, social, and physical harm increases the longer they are subjected to stalking behaviors and the types of coping strategy adopted [18]. ...
Full-text available
Information on the stalking perpetration dynamics of young male and female adults in Asian countries is scarce, particularly in relation to stalkers’ offending characteristics, perpetration behaviors, motives, and other violent and nonviolent behaviors. This study compares the stalking perpetration dynamics (i.e., offending characteristics, lifetime stalking perpetration behaviors and motives, and other violent and nonviolent behaviors) of young male and female adults in Hong Kong. Of the 2496 participants, recruited from all eight public and two private universities in Hong Kong, 45 participants (1.8%; mean age = 22.84 years) reported stalking perpetration during their lifetimes (33 males (mean age = 22.56 years) and 12 females (mean age = 23.58 years)). Significantly more males than females reported that they had engaged in stalking perpetration in the past 12 months. In general, participants most frequently perpetrated surveillance-oriented stalking behaviors, followed by approach-oriented stalking behaviors and intimidation- and aggression-oriented stalking behaviors. Significantly more females than males reported to have threatened to harm or kill their victims. Additionally, significantly more females than males reported “the victim caught me doing something” as their motive for stalking. The findings of our study provide useful information for prioritization during criminal investigations. Increased understanding of the stalking perpetration dynamics of males and females will help the police and threat assessment professionals to formulate their investigation and management plans.
... Literature has shown that IPV and stalking behaviors are two offenses that co-occur frequently (Garza et al., 2020). Despite the multiple definitions and terminology used, stalking has been perceived as a pattern of persistent, unwanted harassment behaviors that tend to increase in terms of duration and intensity, causing fear in the victim (Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007) and interfering with their freedom of action (Spitzberg, 2017). Stalking may involve different forms of communication, contact, surveillance, and monitoring of the victim (Grangeia & Matos, 2010) motivated by jealousy, anger at being abandoned, power-seeking, or the need to control the victim's behavior (Naguy & Alhumoud, 2021). ...
... Fourth, victims stalked by a current or former intimate partner report higher levels of fear and distress than those persecuted by non-partners (Logan et al., 2007). IPS is also a significant risk factor for intimate partner homicide (IPH; Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007). Moreover, considering the literature on the co-occurrence of stalking and IPV, McEwan et al. (2017) concluded that 30 to 65% of ex-intimate stalking cases involve prior physical IPV, corroborating another previous review that discusses the link between stalking and domestic violence (Douglas & Dutton, 2001). ...
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) and intimate partner stalking (IPS) frequently co-occur. However, the relationship between IPV and IPS has raised different interpretations: some researchers defend that they are similar types of crime, and others suggest that IPS is an extension of IPV. Using a sample of 284 male perpetrators from Portugal, recruited from prison and community, in this study, we intended to compare IPV perpetrators with and without IPS behaviors, identify the factors that predict IPS, and explore the mediating effects of the prediction variables on IPS. Results revealed that although similar in some features (e.g., psychopathology, aggression, previous convictions), IPV perpetrators with IPS differentiate from IPV perpetrators without IPS in drug abuse, separation from the victim, frequency of IPV, frequency of psychological IPV, psychopathy, and psychopathy lifestyle facet. However, only the separation from the victim, IPV frequency, and intimate psychological violence frequency predicted IPS. The mediation analyses showed that separation alone does not explain stalking behaviors and that IPV frequency plays an important mediating role. Our study reinforces the link and even the continuum nature between IPV and IPS. Thus, stalking behaviors should be considered in prevention and intervention efforts in this area.
... Research has also found that victims of IPH have often recently left their abusive partner at their time of death (Brady & Hayes, 2018;Campbell et al., 2003). Stalking has been identified by a number of researchers as a risk factor for IPH (Campbell et al., 2007;Matias et al., 2020;Rai et al., 2020;Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007), with both stalking and IPH having common predictors such as gender (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000), domestic abuse (Brady & Hayes, 2018), and relationship status (Logan et al., 2008). Despite this, there is a paucity of research that investigates risk factors for IPH precipitated by stalking (Rai et al., 2020) ...
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Intimate partner homicides are often situated within the context of domestic abuse, and although less prevalent than domestic abuse, there have been several multi-agency approaches to understanding the risk for these fatal crimes. Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) were introduced in 2011 to provide information to help with assessing such risk. This paper aims to analyse DHRs in England and Wales to investigate/determine risk factors for domestic homicide following intimate partner abuse. All publicly available DHRs published between July 2011 and November 2020 where the victim and perpetrator were or had been intimate partners (N = 263) were retrieved from Community Safety Partnership websites in England and Wales. A quantitative design was used to extract data from DHRs, and descriptive and inferential statistics were generated by SPSS 26. Findings identified risk factors relating to domestic abuse, including stalking, separation, and the victim being in a new relationship. Sociodemographic risk factors included higher levels of deprivation, lower income and higher barriers to housing and services. This highlights the role of both individual and sociodemographic factors in domestic homicides, and particularly the need for greater socioeconomic security for victims of domestic abuse. In conclusion, though much of the data is in line with previous research, our analysis highlights the pivotal role of regional poverty, with comfortable socioeconomic conditions offering protection against intimate partner homicides. This research suggests important directions for future research and makes a valuable contribution to a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between domestic abuse and intimate partner homicide.
... It has been well documented that different types of violence are often perpetrated at the same time (Basile & Hall, 2011;Miller, 2006). Specific overlaps have been found for stalking, physical violence, and sexual violence (Gondolf et al., 2002;Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007). Stalking and sexual violence were both significant correlates for predominantly Black populations as well. ...
Black women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at higher rates than White women, and are more likely to experience more serious injuries, serious mental health diagnoses, or even death as consequences of IPV. Most research on factors associated with physical IPV does not primarily focus on Black women experiencing IPV. To be able to offer targeted intervention and prevention services, understanding unique correlates is critical. To address these discrepancies and better conceptualize factors associated with IPV for Black women, a meta-analysis was conducted to examine correlates for male physical IPV perpetration/female IPV victimization among predominantly Black samples. Next, strengths of correlates for male IPV perpetration/female IPV victimization were compared between Black and White samples. From an original pool of 759 articles examining correlates for IPV perpetration and victimization, 21 articles were usable that had a sufficient percentage (at least 75%) of Black participants and 80 articles that had a sufficient percentage (at least 75%) of White participants. Five significant correlates for male perpetration and seven significant correlates for female victimization in predominantly Black samples were identified. Comparisons for male perpetration/female victimization between predominantly White and Black samples were conducted for nine correlates, and one-third of these correlates (male emotional abuse perpetration, female post-traumatic stress symptoms, and female alcohol use) were significantly stronger correlates in Black populations compared to White populations. Research and clinical implications are discussed.
Cyberstalking is becoming more common among young adults. The aim of this study was to investigate (1) the prevalence, behaviours, and tactics of both victims and perpetrators of cyberstalking among a sample of Greek undergraduate students; (2) the correlates of victimization and perpetration of cyberstalking to personality, attachment style, and relating to others; and (3) the impact of cyberstalking on victims' mental health. Results showed that 23.9% of the students were victims and 9% were perpetrators, with females, disproportionately experiencing and inflicting cyberstalking. Negatively close relating (i.e., intrusive and possessive relating) increased the risk of perpetration, whereas relating to others distantly (suspicious and avoidant relating) decreased the risk of victimization. Agreeableness decreased the risk of perpetration. Mother's affectionless control increased the risk of both perpetration and victimization, and mother's neglectful parenting increased the risk of perpetrating cyberstalking. Fear, anxiety, and depression were reported by the victims.
Predatory behavior is a complex forensic concern that requires an interdisciplinary response. Predatory behavior does not occur as a single act. It is a course of conduct that can begin in trivial or even unnoticed actions and develop into pursuit-type behaviors. Predators can escalate their attention toward their focus of interest in a manner that becomes dangerous and overt. The myriad of ways that the behavior occurs is subjective for both the pursuer and the pursued. Predation is relevant to the situation, the players involved, and the actions taken. This complexity in the behavioral expressions and context behind them make it difficult to create a distinctive predator typology. Hence, what is meant by a predator does not have a simple definition and can be a challenge to address within the criminal justice and behavioral psychology realms. Those who serve in professional roles from each of these fields use applied approaches from their disciplines to monitor and manage risk and dangerousness. A possible means of bridging this effort could be to increase our understanding of predatory behavioral pathways (PBPs). Examining and tracing behaviors within crime statistics could bring to light the predatory footprint of past and developing behaviors. The context and subjectivity of these paths of conduct could provide insight as to the offender process and the driving forces of the predation. As PBPs come more into view, an enhanced and coordinated effort could be applied by the forensic professionals tasked with monitoring and managing risk and dangerousness.
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Objetivo: En la presente investigación se determina la prevalencia de la violencia contra las mujeres basada en el género (VcM) en las universidades de Ecuador, se identifican las mejores prácticas y el estado de las investigaciones en materia de prevención de la violencia contra las mujeres en las instituciones de educación superior en el mundo, y se propone un modelo de prevención integral de la VcM en las universidades. Método: El diagnóstico se realizó mediante un diseño descriptivo-explicativo, sobre la base de datos observacionales (encuestas) y relaciones de variables, acorde a un modelo teórico. Los datos provienen de encuestas a 23.261 estudiantes y 4.064 docentes y personal administrativo de las principales escuelas profesionales de 16 universidades con 22 sedes o campus universitarios en Ecuador. Resultados: En Ecuador, 1 de cada 3 estudiantes universitarias reporta haber sido agredida alguna vez por su pareja o expareja, desde que está en la universidad. Considerando solo los últimos 12 meses, 1 de cada 5 estudiantes ha sido agredida por sus parejas o exparejas, un promedio de 18 veces. Se ha encontrado también que 1 de cada 3 estudiantes mujeres ha sido agredida por otros integrantes de la comunidad universitaria, 10 veces promedio en el último año. Docentes y personal administrativo también reportan haber sido agredidas por sus parejas u otros integrantes de la comunidad universitaria. Como consecuencia, días de productividad académica son perdidos debido a la VcM. Se ha encontrado que las estudiantes pierden 11 días al año cuando son agredidas por sus parejas y casi 13 días cuando son agredidas por otros integrantes de la comunidad universitaria. La pérdida es mucho mayor cuando sufren, al mismo tiempo, ambos tipos de VcM, llegando a casi 29 días perdidos al año. Los agresores también pierden días de productividad académica y laboral. Se han encontrado diversos factores personales (actitudes y aceptación de la violencia) y contextuales asociados a la alta prevalencia de la violencia contra las mujeres. Costos: Considerando los costos indirectos de estudiantes y docentes, se ha encontrado que las universidades de Ecuador asumen 68.833.079 USD en costos indirectos al año, valor monetario de 3.664.409 días perdidos de 252.429 estudiantes y docentes afectad*s por la violencia contra las mujeres. Este monto equivale al 3,13% del presupuesto nacional universitario. Propuesta: La revisión sistemática demuestra que las acciones de prevención en la educación superior, a nivel mundial, son aún incipientes y fragmentadas, con poca evidencia de efectividad. Se propone, al respecto, un modelo integral de prevención de la violencia contra las mujeres basado en la cadena de valor de las universidades.